President Vladimir Putin wasted no time underlining the trust the two presidents had established during their short discussions on Saturday in Slovenia.
"They told me that President Bush doesn't like to listen," Putin said, "that he prefers to talk, but it turned out quite differently. He's attentive, analytical and frank."
Nevertheless, Putin remains adamantly opposed to Mr. Bush's plans for an anti-missile defense shield.
"I understand when President Bush says we have to protect ourselves against rogue states," Putin said, "but we know what weapons those states have. They're ours old Soviet ones that basically date from World War II."
"That's not worth a $60 billion defense shield," he said.
Moreover, Putin argued that if America goes ahead with a missile defense program and pulls out of the landmark ABM arms control treaty, it would re-ignite a global nuclear arms race.
Putin, an ex-KGB colonel, also took a swipe at both the American and Russian intelligence services.
"They're doing their work badly," he said. "Their main job is to provide information to those in power, but in fact they stir up animosity and old hatreds."
Putin suggested the spy services need to reinvent themselves to cooperate more on mutual threats like international terrorism.
The marathon three-hour session included lots of upbeat talk about U.S.-Russia cooperation.
But when one reporter said to Putin, "Now that we're partners, we should do this once a month," Putin replied, "I didn't say we were partners. I said we could be."
Also Monday, Putin briefed Chinese President Jiang Zemin about Mr. Bush by telephone.
"The president of Russia underlined that there are real perspectives for wide-ranging and constructive dialogue with G. Bush," the Kremlin said in a statement.
It said the Chinese president had also expressed a desire for dialogue.
But on strategic stability questions, which cover the hotly contested issue of missile defense," Putin and Jiang elucidated the agreement between the Russian and Chinese positions and their readiness for further cooperation."
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